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In Where have all the mom and pop hardware stores gone?, Chad mentioned the hardware store his father owned up in Tekoa, Washington when he was growing up. There was mention of the simpler times; the almost Norman Rockwell-esque way of being brought up. I’ll admit now, I was nervous about heading up there to see it – first time for me ever, and first time for Chad since he left it at age 5.

Would it hold up the grandiose memories that he had? Would the ceilings of that old store reach to the sky, and the bins be full of neat nuts and bolts? Would it feel the same? You know, that gut punching emotion-filled feeling you get when you see, feel, or hear something that brings you instantly back to those memories you cherish so much?

Would it even still be standing?

We rolled into Tekoa at around 7:00 PM after our first day of traveling as a caravan group, leaving Idaho with in-laws in tow. My first impression of this quiet little farming community was that it was indeed quite beautiful. Nothing stood out as ostentatious, no showy houses or cars. Just good people, working hard, raising their families and making their contribution to the world, no matter how small. We found a spot along the river, just over the bridge as you enter into Tekoa. This was my first real experience of boondocking, and I must admit, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. The spot had a nice grassy area for the kids to run around and get excess energy out before we settled in for our first dinner in the trailer. We kept it pretty simple – grilled hot dogs, homemade rice-a-roni (or rice pilaf) and a mix of fresh cut up peaches and nectarines from our shopping trip the previous day.

Being further north meant that the dark took longer to come. But we were exhausted and fell asleep. Unfortunately, our boondocking location had a bit of midnight traffic, as it {apparently} was also the hangout for the local kids. But all in all, it wasn’t too bad. When we awoke the next morning, we were ready to get going and visit memory lane.

We started by walking up the steep hill just on the other side of our camping location. I don’t know what, exactly, I was expecting…but I guess I thought the town was bigger. Upon reaching the top, I realized we were in front of Chad’s childhood home. Obviously, I had no memories of the house, and had never seen any pictures of it at all, so my reaction was much more low-key than that of Chad or Hal’s. Chad, however, seemed a little less than impressed. It was smaller than he remembered, the yard looked different, the paint looked as though it hadn’t been touched up in 40 years – since the last time Hal painted it before they moved.

I began to feel a bit nervous – worried, really, that the hardware store wasn’t going to live up the memories much like the house. We continued on our walk as Chad explained that this was where he rode his tricycle as a child, trekking around the sidewalk up the block to the hardware store or here was the location that one girl rode down the hill and crashed into Hal’s car. We reached the end of the sidewalk and found ourselves kitty-corner for the hardware store.

There it was. The name had changed – naturally – and that was ok. The building looked the same. I could feel the whole group sigh with relief, as tensions began lifting. Chad’s excitement began growing as we crossed the street and he pointed to what used to be the bank, laughing and explaining that when he was little, he would sit on the corner waiting for his dad to come out and walk him across the street to the store. If his dad was busy, the bank-tellers would come out and walk him across the street. He pointed out the old post office, as well as the pharmacy (still there). We reached the front of the store and pulled the doors open.

The store was multi-level. I looked down on the floor, smiled to myself, and realized the carpeting must be original. Nothing was more 1970s than black and red patterned {checkered?? Plaid??} carpet. And there it was. Still on the floors from when Hal installed it in 1973. Chad quietly disappeared and I found him wandering the aisles, looking up at the ceilings – at least 12 feet high – and examining the rows and rows of bins. He had his hands tucked into his pockets and his steps were slow, measured, and careful. I could almost see him running up and down the aisles with his Tonka truck, running into the unlucky patrons who didn’t watch for him.

Very few things had changed. The garden center was different. Obviously there were new items. But overall, I’m told it was very similar to the last time they were all there.

They spoke to the new owner, sharing their history and explaining what they knew of the building and the business.

It was a good visit. A happy new memory.

One checked off the bucket list, and I was so happy to be a part of it. We pulled out of Tekoa happy and content, ready to move on with our journey, and I think both Chad and Hal breathed a sigh of relief that {some} things never change.


Check out the other posts in the Living in 24 Feet Series!

Living in 24 Feet: Preparing for a summer long road trip in a travel trailer

Living in 24 Feet: The first leg

Author: Erin

I'm doing what I can to provide the best life I can for my family. I love cooking & baking, homestead arts, DIY, and gardening {as well as coming up with projects for Mr. Wanderstead Husband!!}...but I love to explore the world around us too! We will figure out how to do it, and eat well while trying.

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2 thoughts on “Living in 24 Feet: The memory lane jaunt in Tekoa, WA

  1. It was a great visit 🙂

    Posted on June 25, 2017 at 4:54 am
  2. Funny how some things never change….

    Posted on June 25, 2017 at 12:56 pm